Spokane Journal of Business

Deaconess seeks to open kidney dialysis center

State Department of Health is reviewing application for eight-station facility

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Deaconess Medical Center has applied to the Washington state Department of Health for a certificate of need to open an eight-station kidney dialysis center in its main hospital building this summer.

Deaconess Chief Operating Officer Tom Zellers says the Spokane hospital wants to add dialysis services simply to provide complete care here.

Were missing this one service, Zellers says. We want to provide better care.

Deaconess currently offers only acute dialysis services in its intensive-care unit for very ill patients whose kidneys temporarily have stopped working because of injury or surgery, says Tena Cramer, the hospitals assistant vice president of patient care. Acute dialysis is done only for a short time, until kidney function resumes as a patient recovers, she says. If kidney function doesnt resume in a short time, a patient must be referred to a dialysis center that provides treatment on a long-term, outpatient basis.

Sacred Heart Medical Center currently operates the only long-term dialysis centers in Spokane that provide treatment for patients with chronic kidney failure. It has announced that it plans to sell its dialysis centers to the private sector.

Zellers says Deaconess already was reviewing its need to add dialysis service when it learned of Sacred Hearts plan to sell off its dialysis operations, and thus the two decisions are unrelated. He says, however, that Deaconess believes its important to have a nonprofit dialysis provider in the community.

Deaconess proposed dialysis center would be located in about 2,000 square feet of space that is used for offices on the east side of the hospitals main building near the driveway to the Womens & Childrens Center, Zellers says. The center likely would employ three nurses and three other staff members.

With eight dialysis stations, the center would have the capacity to serve between 45 and 50 patients every other day on a permanent basis.

The estimated cost of remodeling the space and buying and installing equipment for the dialysis center is about $480,000, Zellers says. The state Department of Health is expected to complete its review of Deaconess application by June 22.

  • Anita Burke

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